Illinois police serve search warrant at Madigan’s Springfield office, looking for evidence of sexual assault, battery by former state lawmaker

Illinois police serve search warrant at Madigan’s Springfield office, looking for evidence of sexual assault, battery by former state lawmaker

State police executed the search warrant in an attempt to find evidence of criminal behavior by former Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks.

Soon after Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “State of the State” address, police showed up at the Springfield office of the state’s most powerful politician.

Illinois State Police executed a search warrant at House Speaker Mike Madigan’s office Jan. 29.

The Chicago Sun-Times obtained the search warrant, which claimed probable cause for the crimes of “criminal sexual abuse, criminal sexual assault, official misconduct, stalking and aggravated battery” by former state Rep. Jack Franks, a Democrat from the northwest suburbs of Chicago and current McHenry County Board chairman.

The speaker’s office told the Sun-Times it gave information to authorities in March 2019 regarding Franks, who stepped down in 2017. But Franks denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged.

“In April of 2019, I received correspondence from the speaker’s office, which I quickly responded to with a full denial,” Franks told The Center Square.

Madigan’s office told the Sun-Times it received a complaint about alleged sexual harassment involving Franks and an employee of the speaker’s office on Nov. 19, 2018. Madigan’s office investigated the claim and imposed restrictions on Franks, including prohibiting contact with Madigan employees. It remains unclear whether the alleged victim of Franks’ conduct was satisfied by this punishment.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently told Springfield political blogger Rich Miller that he would call on members of the General Assembly to step down when there is “clear” evidence of targeting by investigators.

“That’s the point at which folks should step aside,” Pritzker said.

Madigan has served as speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives for 35 of the last 37 years.

State pundits have suggested endless headlines regarding Springfield misconduct could derail Pritzker’s biggest policy priority, which gives greater taxing authority to state lawmakers. Those lawmakers last spring approved a constitutional amendment eliminating Illinois’ constitutional flat income tax protection, which Pritzker has dubbed the “fair tax.” Opponents have branded the amendment a “blank check” for Springfield corruption. Voters will decide the amendment’s fate at the ballot box Nov. 3.

Should Madigan leave office, state lawmakers have serious work ahead to restore integrity to the Statehouse.

That includes passing a suite of commonsense anti-corruption reforms, fair legislative maps and changing the House rules, which have made Madigan the most powerful legislative leader in the nation.

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